August 16, 2019
I’ve been thinking a lot about judgment lately. There are several phrases that use the idea of judgment in them: an error of judgment, in my judgment, against one's better judgment, pass judgment, reserve judgment, sit in judgment. I’m sure there are more, but this is a pretty good list. Judgment is probably thought of in a negative side of things; that is of course unless the judgment goes your way.
Why is it so easy to judge others? I have come to the conclusion that we either are in need of bettering ourselves or we just don’t have a clue. I drive a school bus here in Alva and I will tell you, there are days I want to quit because of the trouble that goes on in the seats behind me as I drive. But, I also know that some of the kids on my bus may not have a happy home life or just simply didn’t have a good day. As one of my beautiful nieces said once, “I think he fell out on the wrong side of the bed.” What a way to start your day, right?
What if we stop for a moment when we are about to say or even think something and realize that we don’t know what is going on in the lives of others. We have no idea what the person was going through that yelled at you because you took longer to order your meal. We have no idea why the guy driving by us had to give us an unkind gesture with his hand. Maybe it’s the fact that others don’t know what you’re going through and expect something from you that you just can’t give them.
We have been going through the book of Ephesians on Sunday mornings at the Friends Church. We declared that we wanted to have a different focus as we started, so we took Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) and printed it on a sheet of paper. Each person came forward and signed their copy with the intent that they would put it somewhere in their house so they could see it frequently and be reminded of what it says. We have a copy on the refrigerator and our bathroom mirror. Here’s what it says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I love what the Message Translation says too: “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.”
Isn’t that awesome! Now I understand that awesome could be negative here if you have not heard many gifts lately. Or, maybe you have not been very good at giving gifts with your words. Let me remind you that you are not any better or worse than anyone else. We are all flawed and broken, worthy of punishment and judgment. But, this judgment is God’s, not yours or your neighbors. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (NIV) and Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NIV). And finally listen to what Romans 5:8 says – seriously, I want you to hear this, truly hear it: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (NIV).
I pray that you would truly understand the Gift that Jesus gave by going to the Cross and giving His life. Choose today to allow this precious gift to be yours so that you can share it with others.